Campaign of the Month: October 2016

Archnemesis

Session 04 : Sunrise In Luskan
Act I : The City Of Sails

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Hammer 18, 1484 DR
Luskan, North & South Bank

The wizard’s magic owl, Splinter, flies above the pine trees watching for enemies. Beneath him, his master’s company reach the end of the forest. From the hill they can see the walls of Luskan. They gaze upon the City Of Sails for a moment, as it comes to life in the morning sun and then Jimmy Bear, turns to the other survivors.

“This path leads to the North Gate. The Taerls occupy that region, so until I find out who’s my friend or foe, I’ll enter the city from a less formal entrance. Through the woods, towards the Open Shore, there is an opening in the walls. Cliffside Cranny it is called. It is guarded, ya, but hell I know me way around my City. With a little luck we’ll go unnoticed. Anyone care to join me, mates?”, announces the sailor.

“There are gates in the cities so people, can enter from. We are not thugs and we will not act like ones.”, replies the knight and heads towards the North Gate.

In a confusing moment as Richorn and Jimmy, take different paths, Harry, with Oloward Fletcher and the ladies follow the knight and Thornalf stays with Mr. Bear, while no one notices the halfling, hidden in the bushes, sneaking behind the sailor and the dwarf, towards the crack in the walls.

The North Gate guards, seem more like mercenaries than city watchmen. They bare the Taerl symbol, a Blooded Iron Gate, on their leather armors and they only care about collecting the toll. The hunchback tax collector, though, chats a little with Harry, exchanging information for coins. Harry, overwhelmed, enters the big city. Oloward Fletcher, the merchant, heads for Mirabar District to mingle with the dwarf merchants and Harry helps Richorn to gather information about the fate of the Waterdavian Guards. Apparently, a while ago they were all infected by the Plague, the inn they were staying was burned down and they were sent to the Fang Island, where all the plague victims end up. The severe wound on the paladins face, compels him to visit a local healer, thus Harry is left in the service of the two lovely ladies. He accompanies Damara, to the Clearlight, a temple dedicated to Tymora, only to find that a group called Coinspinners, fortified the building and made it their base of operations. One of them, Mike The Coin, who seems quite friendly to Harry, suggests they visit the slums where the few followers of Lady Luck, reside. There, the priestess joins the community of the not so fortunate residents of the city, offering her help. Finally, the wizard and the exotic dancer, arrives in the One Eyed Jax inn, where Harry quickly rents a room for the evening and falls asleep on the silk sheets, alone, rejecting the “special offer”, of the house.

Olo Quickskin, secretly follows his two companions to the ruined walls, in the west side of the city, until he loses them behind the huge chunks of stone. The halfling passes through the breach and hides in the street by the change of the watch. Then he puts on his innocent and naïve face and runs toward the guards, yelling,

“Oh, mister can you please, point me to the butcher?! I need to buy some food for my grandpa, he’s very sick and I’m all he’s got!”

“So you’re all alone and your paps is the only one whose waiting for ya? Hmm, give me your money boy, and I’ll bring you something for your old man!”, says the guard, with a smirk trying to grab the halfling from his belt.

Olo, rolls over and run away into the alley. The guard chases him cursing, until he corners the little one and draws his sword, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t handle his coins. Olo, draws a dagger from his sleeve and pierce through his knee. Then, he tumbles on the crates, positioning himself behind his enemy and backstab him until he drops dead. He looks at the dying man, plotting a way to get away with this unfortunate event. He takes a rug with the guard’s blood and paints on the wall the Rethnors symbol, followed by the word “RETURN”. He heads to the Red Dragon Post of the Mirabar District and overhear two members of the Barams, bargain a big weapon deal with the blacksmith, Malik Hammersmash. The halfling invites himself into the conversation, introducing himself as Pilo Ironheart and learns from the big guy, called Big Larry, that an accountable force of his gang, will leave in a few days for the northern villages where a few barbarians recently settled. Olo offers, a better deal if they buy from one of his own collaborators. The big guy seems to be persuaded and accepts, rather roughly though,

“Ya better come with the stuff at our headquarters in Red Dragon Post, by noon tomorrow, or they will find you with an iron in your heart . . . Pilo Ironheart! "

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Harry's Journal - Part Three
Little cabin in the woods ... look at it burn...

Hammer 16, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Sword Coast, North-East of Luskan

The good news is that we found other survivors from the ship, Orelei among them … the bad news is that two of them were eaten by wolves before we had time to intervene, including Sir Richorn’s last squire – the other one apparently drowned with the boats. And of course it started to rain, which made burying the poor men a bit easier and us a lot more uncomfortable.

Thankfully Jimmy Bear spotted a cabin in the woods a while back so we will be heading there.

Hammer 16, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Cabin in the Woods, Sword Coast, North-East of Luskan

This is without doubt, the best day of my life. We found the cabin which looked strangely abandoned until we stumbled upon the owners’ corpses stashed in a hidden underground study/stash. So the cabin being abandoned stopped being so strange but it did pose the question of who offed the owners and why … the basement was full of merchandise along with slaver logs which I think may not be entirely legal … Thornbalf is suspicious of Jimmy but he has given us no reason to doubt him yet.

The best part however is that I finally got to cast that spell that Master Tumult was badgering me about, the one that makes magical thinks glow. As a result I found a bottomless bag in the study (which is really more useful than it sounds) and which I promptly filled with books … none of it magical but still a wizard needs his books.

As soon as I finish this I am casting that “Alarm” spell on the doors and windows and hopefully it will not go off every time i sneeze this time. I’ve never felt so much like a wizard in my life … Master Tumult would be so proud.

Hammer 17, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Cabin in the Woods, Sword Coast, North-East of Luskan

I don’t have much time … the cabin is on fire and we are trying to escape through the window in one of the back rooms. There are men in the woods that are looking to kill us … I think it has to do with the attack on our ship as well …

…too much smoke in here … Sir Richorn is badly hurt … I am also running out of bolts …

… Orilei climbs out of windows very gracefully …

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Session 03 : Cabin In The Woods
Act I : The City Of Sails

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Hammer 17, 1484 DR
Woods North Of Luskan

The survivors of Maria Alayna, find themselves in front of the seemingly abandon cabin in the Luskan woods. Jimmy Bear, kicks the wooden door, breaking the lock and entering the dark lounge. The others follow him quickly, eager to take cover from the downpour. Harry snaps his fingers and a small fire starts in the stone fireplace. Then he draws geometric shapes on the door and windows and he starts weaving an alarm spell, after all better be safe than sorry as his master, Tumult, used to say. Thornalf discovers some provisions in a small warehouse and the women cook dinner, while the dwarf “tastes” the ale, to see if it’s still good. And it is good, but he continues the “taste” process, anyway. Oloward, the fat merchant, is writing some calculations in his little diary, to assess his losses from the shipwreck, apparently he lost almost everything and he burst into tears. Jimmy, sits calm with his muddy boots on the table and smokes some of the Luskan blend. Richorn is trying to repair the front door, furious with that inelegant, rude, poor excuse for a sailor. Suddenly a blunt noise comes from an inner room. The men grab their weapons and barge into the bedroom. In the candlelight they see the halfling, crouching in front of a bedside table, with a broken vase next to him. Holding his bruised forehead, turns to his companions, saying

“Someone hit me! Someone was there! Look, look I’m wounded!”

“You shouldn’t sneak around, make noise and then mess us up, ya little sneaker! Dun nogada fahir!”, responds, the angry dwarf mixing dwarvish with common language.

“Oh! There’s no one there! That’s what Mr. Thornalf said!”, Harry, proudly translates.

Since, there was nothing disturbing they start leaving the room giving suspicious looks to each other. The dwarf notices a plank bouncing on the floor and turns to the wizard who is still in the room.

“Close the door discretely, Mr.Diploma.”, whispers to Harry.

The draw the carpet away and they uncover a secret hatch. A rotting smell comes from the basement below and the they both want to find out what causes it.

“I have a bad feeling about this.”, says Harry as they descent.

They discover more provisions, some crates, barrels, an old bookcase with an artistic carved desk in front of it and some disturbing iron cages with chains. Finally, they spot the source of the smell. A pile of three dead bodies, rotting. Some one must have killed that poor family a few days ago. Some thrown papyri draws the wizards attention. They seem to be some kind of slave logs. Quickly he puts them in his robe, and starts a ritual to detect any remnants of magic. His efforts pay off and he locate a magic bag beneath the bookcase. That bag opens a tiny extra-dimensional gateway, holding all its container in the astral space. The dwarf notify the others of the situation and they decide to bury the dead outside. Afterwards they sleep lightly and they take turns guarding the cabin.

Olo Quickskin is swimming in a sea of silver and gold, he gets out in a beach with pearls instead of sand and passes through exotic trees with Rubin for berries. In the middle of the beach there is a door. He takes out his thieves tools and unlocks it. He opens it slowly and then, a screeching noise like the awful screams of a bitching banshee, wakes him up! Bloody pirates, screaming and crushing invade the cabin through the doors and windows. One of them troughs a flaming bottle and the whole place burst into flames. The companions bring death upon the invaders, but more torches are coming behind the trees. They flee from the back door into the woods. Most of them got away with minor wounds except from the knight whose face was half burned in the fight. They run and they run, leaving the burning cabin behind them while the sun rises above the smoking chimneys of the City Of Sails.

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Threats

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Those pirates threaten us in the most sideward way I have ever seen from humans. I don’t understand why would someone not threaten you clearly and directly if they so wish. We dwarves are straight when we use threats. “I will crush your empty skull like an eggshell” , “I will make you eat more crap than a trollish shithole”… In any case, they want us to be silent. So be it. I have neither a quarrel with them nor do I scare from half eaten “warnings”. Mr diploma will be around, and so will that flamboyand blonde tinman. As for that little sneaker… well he is funny enough to have around. He also has weed. All I now need is some ale and some salted pork. Maybe the mage can conjure some up… I hear some wolfhowls in the distance.

That cant be good…

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Harry's Journal - Part Two
A shipwreck, lies within lies and wolves ...

Hammer 15, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Sword Coast, North-East of Luskan

Well, that was … exciting! I would never have thought that travelling by sea would be so fun. I mean my father suggested it because it was supposed to be safer than going by land, but common, safer usually means dull. I was really prepared for a boring couple of days on the ship but, by Chauntea, I was wrong! So here I am now, freezing my butt off. on a beach, in a small cove somewhere north-east of Luskan – at least according to Thornalf.

To be honest, Pa would never have believed me if I told him a Rethnor ship was attacked by pirates. So his assumption was probably right although I don’t want to think what the attack might mean or what it might bode for the future. But attacked we were, and we fought them off and we even managed to get ashore although the captain’s landing technique leaves much to be desired … I mean, if he loses a ship every trip why does he bother to take cargo at all? And why would he dumb that cargo overboard BEFORE the ship sank … or why would he deny that he did so or that he did save more than a few crates after the shipwreck …. politics confuse me … and of course I haven’t traveled by ship before, so crashing the ship might be the norm.

But the question of why we were attacked and by whom remains and it gnaws on me … so I reluctantly agreed to go along with captain’s proposal and look into it in Luskan, without letting anyone know that captain, his men or any of the cargo survived. Jimmy Bear will be coming with us, at least part of the way and he will be the one to contact when in Luskan, if we find anything out – oh yes, Thornalf and Olo are also coming, as is that knight of Torm although to be honest I am not certain about his motives.

Hammer 16, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Sword Coast, North-East of Luskan
Entry One

We will be leaving this beach shortly. The captain and his men are already gone, only Jimmy is still with us. I have been working on my spells for the last few days and I think I am close at finally nailing down that “Alarm” spell master Tumult tried to teach me … if only I can figure out how to make the area larger than my sleeping blanket …

I think there might have been something wrong with the oysters we ate this morning. I tried to fix it up by changing the flavor (I am a wizard after all) but even though I was certain that strawberry-flavored oysters would be a novelty, I have been strangely light-headed since then … keep having those weird visions, flashes really. I think maybe they were bad but the others seemed to enjoy them so I do not want to spoil their fun…

Hammer 16, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Sword Coast, North-East of Luskan
Entry Two

It    harder           it            to write                                                    
  is              than      looks                 while                                   
                                                                   
 walking                         been walking 
               but we have                           for               

 more than               and I am
                    3 hours                 bored!
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Session 02 : Survivors

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Hammer 16, 1484 DR
Sword Coast, Shore

On Maria Alayna’s deck, Richorn is fighting side by side with the bloodheaded dwarf, swinging his sword and blocking hits with his holy shield. Under the starless sky, the pirate scimitars are dancing with Thornalfs greatsword, on a bloody ball, while Harry the wizard, is shooting his crossbow behind the steering wheel, covering their backs. Deep in the ship holds, Olo persuades the sailors who where guarding the place to go up and join the fight, thus leaving him alone with the floating cargo. The little halfling jumps from crate to crate, filling his bags with treasure, until one or two shark wings, make him rethink the situation and leaves for the deck. Some life boats already left, when the two ships started shink together. After a short duel with the halforc pirate leader, captain Redbeard is piercing his rapier through the halfbloods heart, discouraging the other pirates who start fleeing and jumping into the stormy sea. Quickly Redbeard and five of his men abandon ship on a boat fully loaded with treasure chests. Moments before they shank, Thornalf, Harry, Olo, Richorn and Jimmy, get on the last boat and make course to the cold beach, where the Rethnor sailors landed. Captain Redbeard, approaches the survivors, lights his carved pipe and say with his rough scary voice,

" No pirate dares to assault a Ship bearing the flag of a Luskan gang. Unless he had orders to do so from someone more powerful. That’s a dire omen for us Rethnors. Jimmy, here’s going to sneak up in Luskan and find out what’s going on with our gang and who want us dead. Help us, and you’ll be greatly rewarded. Cross us and it will be the last thing you’ll ever do. Either way, no one should learn that we survived. Maria Alayna and her whole crew now lies in the bottom of the bloody sea. Shavy?"

Although half eaten threats wasn’t enough to intimidate those particular survivors, they decided they would best get along, until they reach Luskan, at least. So after a short rest, in front of Harry’s arcane campfire, smoking Olo’s devil weed, and eating Thornalf’s wet rations, they follow Jimmy Bear, accompanied by the paladin of Torm. A few hours later, they are wandering in the forest, while clouds are gathering above them. They hear a distant hauling and ready their weapons. A woman is screaming and the wanderers rush through the trees and they stumble on some other survivors, surrounded by black wolves, in a clearing. Orelei and Damara, are holding each other crying and Oloward Fletcher is desperately trying to climb a pine tree . In front of them one of Richorn’s squires and the priestesses guardian lay dead, ravaged by the wild beasts. The companions charge against the wolves, protecting the helpless and attacking with fire, steel and magic. They defeat the pack and they take the other survivors with them. Richorn and the priestess pray for the souls of the fallen and they bury them. However, before the bodies drop into their graves, the halfling swiftly, removes a pouch from the dead guardian. It contains a ring with a flaming fist carved on it and a letter. When no one is watching he secretly reads it,


  • Hammer 2, 1484 DR Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
    Baldur’s Gate, Lady’s Hall Temple

    This is a contract between the Followers Of Free Fate, of Tymora’s Clergy and the mercenary group of the Flaming Fists.

    You are bound to do the following:
    I. Escort apprentice cleric Damara Hemingway to the city of Luskan.
    II. Protect her at all costs, until she arrives in Tymora’s Temple.
    III. Upon your return, carry and deliver to Highpriest Corvin a sealed letter from the apprentice.

    The amount of 50 gold pieces will be given upon signing this contract, and another 250 cold pieces will be delivered to the Flaming Fists upon completion.

A thunder roars in the sky, and heavy rain falls. Jimmy knows a place they can take spend the night, an old hunting cabin in the woods not far from here, he leads the way and everybody follows the sailor, while Thornalf turns his rune covered face up high and praise the Thundergod.

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My Face
My face

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I always wanted to hide my face from the world. But the irony is that the world always wanted to see it. Even after the helmet…
I wonder which is my “real” face. That with the etched runes? The one under it? My waking face? My sleeping face? My angry face? My calm face?
In any case my face is interesting it seems. Or my runes. Those two weird lads, the mage with a diploma and the fragile little sneaker want to know more about my runes or my face… I think both of them are going to follow me into the drinking room. Maybe they can help me open the damn letter without breaking the seal. Little do they know that the runes hark a long and occult story. So be it.

P.S: WHAT!? That beer is too expensive!

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Harry's Journal - Part One
Pirates, Ships, Ugly Cooks, a Halfling, a Dwarf and a Lady

Hammer 12, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Sword Coast, Leilon

Dear Diary (not wizardly enough I think …. have to come up with another opening…)

I don’t understand the people in my village. I mean, I am a Wizard, I have a diploma and all and still they make fun of me. True I have a few … minor problems with a few spells but that does not make me less of a wizard! So what if my fire bolt set Arton’s barn on fire? It still was a fire bolt and besides I put it out myself – with magic!

But I will not give up. If my diploma is not enough to make me a wizard I found out another way as well. The Arcane Brotherhood! Now that is a goal to aspire to. I am not sure what it is exactly that they are doing but I am certain it is great – I think there were some old stories with a rather bleak view about them but hey they are in Luskan. That’s basically next door, so if I don’t like I can always come back … pa sure could use my help around here…

So, to the point, I used most of my gold to buy me a ticket to Luskan. Talked to the dockmaster too. There is a ship coming in tomorrow – Maria Aleyena it is called – and I plan to be on it.

Hammer 15, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Sword Coast, Off the Port of Luskan
Entry One

Dear Journal (nope, that won’t do either…)

So many things to write down, i don’t even know where to begin. The ship is great! Captain Redbeard is maybe a bit intimidating but I haven’t seen him around much so …. On the other hand the weather sucks. It is a good thing I have been on a ship before (not on open sea though – pa used to get work on some of them in the port) otherwise i would be puking all over the place.

There are other people on the ship too! I already met a dwarf with his face full of runes! I managed to copy down a few of them when he was not looking. I am almost certain that one of them is the rune for “chicken” but that can’t be right … something to research when in Luskan.

I also met a Halfling fellow with a magic book. It seems to repel all writing – unless the writing is an illusion which of course is what wizards do. Wizards like me I mean (ha, I can’t get enough of it). I tried to convince him to trade it to me – was even willing to part with my Apprentice Wizard’s Handbook, a gift from master Tumult himself but he seemed to find the proposition insulting. Perhaps it is a Halfling thing… Oh, and there is even a Knight here. A real knight of Torm from Waterdeep with 2 squires. Not even Master Tumult had 2 apprentices, so I guess that makes him important. He does have a great haircut … maybe i should consider one like that …

And then there was that girl … strange name, i could not pronounce it but she has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Could it be a spell? I think I read about it … Anyway there is also a fat, ugly fellow with a parrot that seems interested in her. He is not a wizard though so I think I will be fine. And I have Splinter. An owl is so much more impressive than a stupid parrot.

There seems to be a commotion on the deck … something about “sails” …. of course there are sails, we are on a ship for crying out loud! I’ll better go have a look. They may need a Wizard after all.

Hammer 15, 1484 DR, Year Of The Awakened Sleepers
Sword Coast, Off the Port of Luskan
Entry Two

They were not talking about our ship’s sails after all. It seems that there is another ship approaching, black sails, crossed bones, the whole thing. So, not friendly it seems. And dangerous if I understand the situation correctly. The other ship is trying to block our approach to Luskan, so the captain decided to bypass it and look for shelter further north … there are plans under way to evacuate the passengers at a safe cove before the pirates are on us … although to be honest I thought the Rethnors were pirates … I always found politics a bit confusing. In any case I managed to ensure that Orelei will be on the one of the boats – to think that the fat parrot man wanted to take her with him … dream on you oily maggot (picked that one up from the sailors here, great vocabulary to choose from).

The canons are getting readied! Canons, can you believe it? I even asked to fire one but the man responsible would not let me! Even after I showed him my diploma!

More shouts … it looks like we will not make it ashore. I have to go on the deck. There are many non-combatants here and I have to protect them. It is my duty as a wizard after all … not sure what I will do though. Tumult never showed me any attack spells, especially after that time that I accidentally froze his donkey… I’ll stick by the dwarf (he looks menacing enough) and the knight (who looks really cool) and shoot my crossbow. All those winter days spent hunting will finally pay off – thanks pa.

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Session 01 : Black Sails
Act I : The City Of Sails

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Hammer 15, 1484 DR
Sword Coast, Sea Of Swords

The Rethnor merchant ship, Maria Aleyena, departed from The City Of Splendors, a week ago and begun the journey back to The City Of Sails. The tattooed dwarf drunk, Thornalf Ulfgar, boarded there, having an extremely important sealed letter in his possession. It was given to him from the Hammerhand clan in Waterdeep and it is to be delivered in the hands of Oleg Grimface, in the Mirabar district of Luskan. The ship ported in the small city of Leilon, where only a single passenger got on board. His name is Harry Westra and he is a young but a promiscuous wizard. Oh, he also has a diploma in arcane arts, graded by the one student academy of Master Tumult. This young fella, is visiting the Host Tower Of The Arcane in Luskan, to gain knowledge, power and a Master Degree perhaps? In the Jewel Of The North, as it is called the city of Neverwinter, a fast-walking, fast-talking, slow-trusting halfling, sneaked in the merchant ship and introduced himself as Olo Quickskin, a skin merchant from the mainland. Little did they know that, the little sneaker was tracking down a thief, actually HIS treasure map thief, carrying the name Norman Fatfinger.

Those not so ordinary travelers, met an interesting parade of peculiar character on their journey to Luskan. The quartermaster Jimmy Bear, a quite likable guy, but he is gonna rip you off if you talk money with him. The odd one foot cook, John Silver with his annoying parrot, the exotic dancer Orelei Loyalar, from the land of Amn, that made Harry forget all his spells in an instance. The discreet priestess of Tymora, Damara Hemingwey from Baldur’s Gate, the fat sweaty merchant Oloward Fletcher from Daggerford and the paladin of Torm, and anointed member of The Lords Alliance, Richorn followed by his two squires, who is on a mission of life and death. When they were, about one night away from their destination, the trembling voice of a sailor sounded as a disturbing alarm.

Sails! Black sails!!”, he shouted.

Captain Moris Redbeard, then knew that it was a pirate ship coming after them. Which was unexpected, because of the secret peace treaty the Rethnors and the other gangs had with the outlaws of the sea. He understood that even if he managed to reach the Whitesails Harbor, he would have to deal with his backstabbing countrymen. So he decided to sail through the reefs, if he wanted to have a chance to survive. He ordered his men to drop merchandise to lose weight and prepared for battle. A few miles away from the Coast Of Swords, the cannons fired and powder filled the nightsky. Many people lost their lives, and finally between the sharp rocks in the sea the pirate ship, rammed the merchant ship. Halforc blooded pirates jump on the deck, holding scimitars, axes and javellins. Captain Redbeard with Jimmy bear and a few strong hearted sailors with the aid of paladin Richorn, are defending their ship. Thornalf draws his greatsword, Harry loads his crossbow, while two holds down Olo stands snowblind, in front of chests filled with gold, in a storeroom filling with water . . .

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